Ottawa Senators Season Preview: Defencemen

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 05: Thomas Chabot #72 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New York Islanders during their game at Barclays Center on November 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 05: Thomas Chabot #72 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New York Islanders during their game at Barclays Center on November 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /
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Thomas Chabot #72 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Thomas Chabot #72 of the Ottawa Senators (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) /

First Pairing

Left Side: Thomas Chabot

No surprises here, Chabot is the crown jewel on the back end and will have another chance to lead the NHL in ice-time much like he did last season. Still trying to find a competent partner after the Chabot-Zaitsev pairing was hot garbage last season, Erik Gudbranson now steps in for a trial.

Chabot’s pedestrian numbers last season can be attributed to multiple things; defensive partners, lack of talent around him, the quality of the team last season didn’t help him in the least. A drop in production of 16 points from the year prior to just 39 points last season shouldn’t leave people worried, as the team improves through the rebuild Chabot will likely exceed his career highs.

The quarterback on a much-improved Senators powerplay unit this season, Chabot likely crushes his totals produced last season, at least on a per-game basis. This group of players is just filthy:


Chabot’s career projection is taking a similar trajectory to that of Washington Capitals defenceman John Carlson:

There’s no doubt Chabot is a star defenceman in the NHL and likely throughout the remainder of the decade.

2020-21 Prediction: 56GP 9G 32A 41P

Right Side: Erik Gudbranson

Chabot’s new running mate, Gudbranson has obviously impressed throughout camp and has given coach D.J. Smith no choice but to place him alongside the team’s star defenceman.

Gudbranson had a slight career revival last season when he was traded to Anaheim to play with Cam Fowler, his metrics were better than his previous seasons, but he is far from a hot commodity.

Everything about Gudbranson screams “replacement level”, he’s big and there’s not much else to say about him, however, it’s likely he will be more effective than Nikita Zaitsev was last season.

Not known for his offensive acumen, Gudbranson has a career-high of 13 points and has only surpassed 10 points once. A UFA at the end of the season and unless he acts as a surprisingly good partner for Chabot, he’s likely a good trade chip at the deadline.

2020-21 Prediction: 52GP 2G 4A 6P